9 Of The Best Beer Gardens In Edinburgh
When the sun shines in Edinburgh the city truly comes to life and it seems that just about everyone – grandparents, kids, and dogs alike – heads outside in search of the sun.
One of our favourite things to do on a warm sunny day is to relax outside with a drink and let it transport us back to our last summer holiday. The Norwegians even have a word for it; ‘utepils’ (pronounced oo-tay-pils). This word literally translates to ‘outdoor beer’ or more specifically, “the act of sitting outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer”. To the Scandinavians, that first one of the year is always a big deal!
Thankfully Edinburgh has dozens of brilliant cafes, restaurants, and bars with lovely outdoor spaces, so you can make the most of the sun while it’s here. Is there anything better than a warm summer day spent relaxing outdoors with a drink and friends? If it sounds tempting to you, keep reading to discover some of our favourite Edinburgh beer gardens.
Outdoor social spaces are definitely the best option as we adapt to the new way of life. With limited and varied opening hours, we highly recommend you book online or over the phone ahead of attending to ensure you get a table.
1. The Blackbird Bar & Restaurant
The Blackbird Bar & Restaurant | 37-39 Leven Street
This relaxed café bar serves up cocktails, coffee, and contemporary cuisine in a quirky and welcoming atmosphere. Its leafy courtyard is full trees and plant pots with industrial-style tables and chairs and twinkling fairy lights after dark. With cosy and intimate spaces to curl up in, this little oasis is a great location for a romantic date or a quiet chat on a hazy summer’s eve. They’re also open for brunch on weekends, so you can spend all day in this sunny courtyard.
2. Cold Town House
Cold Town House | 4 Grassmarket
Cold Town Brewery opened its first pub in the Grassmarket in 2019 and is undoubtedly one of the city’s coolest new hangouts. Spread across three floors, Cold Town House has an open pit fire, live entertainment, a whole floor dedicated to pizza and prosecco, and the real showstopper; their rooftop terrace. Nestled beneath Edinburgh Castle, you’ll find cosy wooden furniture with an ultra-relaxing vibe and uninterrupted views. It’s the ideal place to soak up the rays during the day and watch the sun go down in the evening. Open year-round, this beer garden is great for any season, complete with blankets and an après-ski vibe during the colder months.
3. The Pear Tree
The Pear Tree | 38 W Nicolson Street
This long-standing favourite is popular with students, locals, and tourists alike and is one of the most well-known beer gardens in Edinburgh. Set beneath the buildings’ beautiful facade in leafy surroundings, long rows of picnic-bench tables make room for large groups of friends to enjoy a drink in the summer sun. And just a few minutes’ walk from The Meadows, it’s the perfect place to head for after a sunny day in the park. For the general-knowledge buffs, The Pear Tree also hosts one of the most challenging pub quizzes you’ll find in the capital!
4. Indigo Yard
Indigo Yard | 7 Charlotte Lane
Slightly off the beaten path down the cobbled Charlotte Lane, this cosy yet chic beer garden has a hidden-gem feel to it. A great place to enjoy a drink on a warm summer’s eve, their menu is full of trendy tipples and honest brews, and dozens of beers on tap. They’re big on local ingredients and quality produce, making this popular after-work haunt the ideal place to relax with a drink and a bite.
5. The Three Sisters Bar
The Three Sisters Bar | 139 Cowgate
If you’re looking for a lively spot or you happen to be a sports fan, the Three Sisters bar is the place. Often called ‘Edinburgh’s best sports bar’ and one of the Cowgate’s most popular hangouts, this beer garden shows matches of all kinds on their huge outdoor screen and is famous for its buzzing atmosphere on game-days. With an outdoor bar and food stalls regularly set up for special sporting events, Three Sisters has everything you need to enjoy the game. But be sure to get there early if you want a seat – this place can get packed!
6. The Cumberland Bar
The Cumberland Bar | 1-3 Cumberland Street
This quintessential neighbourhood pub was once called “one of the most civilised bars in the New Town” by the Independent and is a favourite among locals. In this New Town gem, you’ll find some of the finest real ales, wines, and delicious pub grub. Their leafy and quiet no-frills courtyard has a real home-away-from-home feel and is the perfect place to relax on a warm summer’s eve.
Akva | 129 Foutainbridge
Crack open your ‘utepils’ in true Scandinavian style at Akva, a casual Swedish restaurant and bar, situated beside the peaceful Union Canal. Akva’s menu is full of interesting drinks with a Nordic twist, like their lingonberry-infused prosecco and grapefruit beer, and their food is pretty good too, with specialties like open-face sandwiches and Swedish cinnamon buns. Despite being in the city centre, Akva’s beer garden has a laid-back atmosphere. There’s something very relaxing about watching the activity on the canal as you enjoy a drink in the warm summer breeze! During the summer months, their outdoor space comes alive with various events including a Swedish Midsummer party in June.
8. Teuchter’s Landing
Teuchter’s Landing | 1c Dock Place
Another popular spot among locals is this quaint dock-side pub in Leith. Teuchter’s boasts a beautiful waterside setting with a quaint pontoon-terrace that sits right on the canal, making it a unique place in Edinburgh to relax in the sunshine. They also have one of the city’s best whisky selections with over 100 malts to choose from. And for the hottest summer days, there’s even complimentary sun cream at the bar, so it really is the ideal place to enjoy a drink outdoors.
9. McLarens on the Corner
McLarens on the Corner | 8 Morningside Road
Last but certainly not least is the latest addition to our list, McLarens on the Corner. Opened in late 2019 and spread over three floors, this beautiful space on the corner of Morningside Road is relaxed and welcoming. Just as McLarens hit their stride, becoming popular with locals, COVID-19 made them get creative. Using their outdoor space, McLaren’s teamed up with local food trucks and were happy to reopen their beer garden in July along with the others above. A perfect spot to enjoy drinks and tasty food in the sun! A personal favourite is a delicious dog from the Scranavan
Visiting Edinburgh this year?
We have a home away from home waiting for you!
Stay in this beautiful home on Morrison Street, in a fantastic central location in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge. There are dozens of great cafés and restaurants on Morrison Street and around the area including Milk, Loudon’s and Shebeen. Also in the area, you’ll find theatres and independent art-house cinemas, as well as being close to Usher Hall. Haymarket Station where you can catch trains and the tram is a very short walk away too, as well as Princes Street. During the Edinburgh Festival, it’s easy to walk from here to popular areas like The Grassmarket and Cowgate. There are plenty of local supermarkets in the area, too.